First Published: 2012-12-02

 

For First time in Kuwait: Shiites emerge as main victors in polls

 

Shiite candidates bag 15 of 50-seat parliament, after they refused to join calls by Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott polls.

 

Middle East Online

By Omar Hasan - KUWAIT CITY

Three women elected compared to four in 2009

The Shiite minority Sunday emerged the main victors in Kuwait's parliamentary polls boycotted by the opposition which considered the new assembly "illegitimate" amid poor voter turnout.

Shiite candidates bagged 15 of the 50-seat parliament, their biggest tally ever, as they refused to join calls by the Sunni-dominated opposition to boycott the polls in protest against the amendment of electoral law.

Shiites, who form around 30 percent of Kuwait's native population of 1.2 million, had nine seats in the previous parliament elected in 2009 and seven in the assembly elected in February and later scrapped by a court.

Three women were elected to the new parliament compared to four in 2009, according to results released by the National Election Commission.

The new house includes as many as 30 new faces reflecting the total boycott by former MPs who are leading members of the opposition.

Sunni Islamists were reduced to a small minority of four MPs compared with as many as 23 in the house elected in February.

The boycott was called to protest the government's unilateral amendment of the key electoral law ahead of the polls. The opposition says the action enabled the government to manipulate the outcome of polls.

The opposition hailed the boycott as very successful as a majority of voters stayed home, and described the election as "unconstitutional."

"Based on statistics compiled by the opposition, the voter turnout was 26.7 percent," said former MP Khaled al-Sultan at the end of an emergency meeting by the opposition after the ballots closed.

The information ministry website however reported that turnout was 38.8 percent and opposition youth groups reported lower percentages. No official figures have been released by the National ELection Commission.

Veteran opposition leader Ahmad al-Saadoun said the "election is unconstitutional," while several other former MPs called on Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to repeal the disputed amendment.

The opposition Popular Committee for Boycotting Election said in a statement that the new parliament "does not represent the majority of Kuwaiti people and has lost popular and political legitimacy."

It also said all legislation issued by the house will be considered illegal.

The Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition had vowed to continue street protests until it forces the demise of the parliament.

Political analyst Mohammad al-Ajmi said the new parliament will be unlikely to survive for a long period as the country appears headed for an escalation of tension.

"I think the election will herald a new phase of political instability following the huge boycott ... because the new parliament does not fairly represent the Kuwaiti society," Ajmi said.

The major Bedouin tribes which boycotted the polls were the main losers, according to Ajmi.

The Awazem, Mutair and Ajmans, the biggest three tribes with a population of over 400,000 people have only one MP in the new parliament against an average of 17 in previous assemblies.

Voting passed off without any incident despite high political tension between the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition and the government led by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

The vote, the second in 10 months and the fifth since mid-2006, came nearly two months after the emir dissolved a pro-government parliament following its reinstatement in June by a court ruling.

As per Kuwaiti law, the cabinet must resign and a new government be formed before the new assembly holds its inaugural session within two weeks.

The OPEC member has been rocked by a series of political crises which stalled development despite a huge wealth from oil.

 

UAE warns Qatar to take neighbours' demands 'seriously'

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Nine killed in Iraq suicide bomb attack

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments

Saudi foils ‘terrorist act’ in territorial waters

Ex-Barclays CEO charged with fraud over Qatar funding

London mosque terror attack suspect named in media